1 John 4:20-21
If someone says, “I love God,” but hates a fellow believer, that person is a liar; for if we don’t love people we can see, how can we love God, whom we cannot see? And he has given us this command: Those who love God must also love their fellow believers.
Ever had a break with someone from church? Who’s right and who’s wrong? We’re both Believers, right? Sometimes the one who is struggling in a particular area stops being friends with their current group of Christian friends, but isn’t God still working on their hearts? Two people in a disagreement doesn’t make one of them unsaved. Genuine, unintentional offenses doesn’t turn people into un-Christians either. Christians struggle with stuff, and sometimes they can’t struggle with stuff with certain people anymore. It’s weird, but it’s common.
Paul and Barnabas are both in Heaven with Jesus this very day, but there came a time in their lives when they stopped working in ministry together over a sharp disagreement. (See Acts 15:36-41) If God held public court on earth, he may have ruled in favor over one guy over the other in their case; I don’t know. But that isn’t how God works. And both men continued on in the ministry blessed.
When I see someone I used to be friends with, I don’t get too sad anymore. I realize that we are still Family. They are a fellow Believer, and I love them. If there’s an offense, I forgive them. But restoration isn’t always possible as everyone has the same Jesus but not the same preferences. But, I can genuinely respond in love to all Believers, the one’s I’m in fellowship with and the one’s I’m not. It is because they are all part of my Forever Family. Think about two biological sisters who grow up together and then grow apart in adulthood. They’re still sisters. You can’t change blood.
Same with the Family of God. You can’t change the blood of Jesus that saved each one of us in God’s Family. I may not grab coffee with people I used to, but we’ll have plenty of time to catch up in Heaven!
(Disclaimer: I am not talking about sin issues. Sadly, there are people who I used to fellowship with that I will not be reunited with in Heaven because they took off because of sin, not a sharp disagreement or hurt feeling.)
I am thankful for the people you’ve brought in and out of my life. Each one has given me things to think about and, more importantly, each relationship has taught me what is most important. And I am thankful, even for the times my feelings have been hurt. I thank you that only you can make me have genuine love for all Believers. I still marvel at that. You have made a real, life-like and functioning Family out of a bunch of biologically unrelated people. Thank you so much. Thank you for my biological family and for my Forever Family. I look forward to Reunion Day!!!